No Increase In Pennsauken Property Taxes For Fifth Straight Year
By Frank Sinatra, AAP Editor
For the past several years, Pennsauken Township’s administration and the Township Committee have worked diligently to keep the local property tax levy at reasonable levels. Keeping in mind the property tax levy cap law that has been mandated by the State of New Jersey, Pennsauken Township has insured that residents will not see an increase in their property taxes for the fifth year in a row; rates will remain the same as they did in 2016.
Pennsauken’s 2017 budget, currently awaiting approval by the State of New Jersey, allows each taxpayer in Pennsauken to pay .176 cents per $100 of their property’s assessed value for the garbage district budget and .972 cents per $100 of their property’s assessed value for the municipal budget. The combination of the two rates, $1.148 per $100 of the assessed value, is the same as 2016; there will be no increase in the local portion of Pennsauken residents’ 2017 property tax bill.
“I’d like to commend our chief financial officer, Ron Crane, our administrator, John Kneib, and all of the Township staff who worked so very hard to help the Township Committee create a municipal budget with a zero increase, not just this year, but for the past five years, which is an impressive accomplishment for any municipality,” says Pennsauken Mayor Betsy McBride. “Our budget for 2017 will allow us to continue to provide residents with the services they expect in a fiscally responsible manner.”
Several factors helped the Township maintain the level of local taxes. For the fourth straight year, Pennsauken had a tax collection rate in excess of 97 percent, coming in at an all-time high of 97.35 percent in 2016.
“Our tax collection rate is key to keeping property taxes level,” explains McBride. “We can’t give enough credit to our Township staff, especially Ron Crane, Karen Dunn, Pat Huerta, John Dymond, and Danny O’Brien.”
In addition, the Township’s economic development department has again secured additional businesses to move their headquarters into Pennsauken. New businesses coming into town help to increase tax ratables, which offset increasing municipal costs.
“I give full credit to both Terry Carr and Larry Cardwell,” says McBride. “Through their tireless efforts, companies like Bayada Home Health Care are moving and expanding into Pennsauken; and our residents are directly benefitting from it.”
In addition, the Pennsauken Country Club generated $180,000 above the amount needed to cover operation costs and course maintenance. This entire amount goes directly towards property tax relief.
“We really have a gem with the Country Club,” added McBride. “Not only does Pennsauken have a stellar golf course with a great restaurant and banquet room, this facility’s success financially benefits all of our residents.”
The property tax levy is a portion of the yearly tax bill, which also includes the school, garbage, county and library taxes. It is used to fund Pennsauken’s municipal budget, which consists of operational costs, capital spending, debt service payments, salaries, pensions, and insurance expenses. The garbage district budget pays for the disposal of trash and recyclables, as well as waste management for Pennsauken residences.
The services that Pennsauken Township provides its residents and businesses would not be possible without local property taxes. These taxes make up the largest revenue source in the municipal budget.
During the past several years, Pennsauken Township has tirelessly worked to keep costs down in order to better manage financial challenges. And by maintaining a conservative approach to Township operations, Pennsauken is also better prepared to handle capital improvements that need to be addressed on a yearly basis. For example, in 2017, the Township will begin the reconstruction of the aging roof at the Pennsauken Police Administration Building; as well as refurbish both Fire Station 11-3 and the Singer Center on Westfield Ave. Pennsauken will also address improvements and repairs to its infrastructure, as there are 102 miles of road that the Township is responsible for maintaining, while replacing damaged curbing and improving storm drainage. Pennsauken’s 30 parks and playgrounds are also upgraded on a continual basis. The Township will also purchase four new police cruisers; as well as a new street sweeper and leaf turning machine for the Public Works Department to further Pennsauken’s “Clean and Green” initiatives.
“Every year, our goal is to create a balanced municipal budget that maintains our services while being completely fair to our taxpayers,” explains McBride. “For five years straight, we’ve worked on not increasing property taxes and we’ve succeeded. We’re extremely proud of that accomplishment and will continue to do what we can to serve our constituents responsibly.”